IN 1975 the Korean Traders Association (KTA) promised $1 million to the East Asian Research Center for the establishment of a chair in Korean economy and society and the funding of several research projects. But with recent revelations concerning the extensive involvement of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) in U.S. affairs, and allegations of a direct link between the KTA and the Korean government, the political implications of the grant must be carefully considered.
Professors connected with the East Asian Research Center and University administrators have maintained that the grant carries with it no "strings" or political obligations. But given the apparent link between the KTA and the Korean government, more than just lip service to this absence of ties is needed. At a very minimum, a full disclosure of the aims and uses of the grant money should be made, especially until Harvard receives the as-yet undelivered portion of the money. The use of the grant money should be monitored by the University continuously, and the grant program should be terminated at the slightest hint of outside interference.
In accepting money from the KTA, with such obvious links to the corrupt and repressive Park regime, the University exhibits a drastic leap of faith. The acceptance of the grant should not be construed as an acceptance on the University's part of the policies of the Korean regime, nor should the grant create any pressure on members of the East Asian Research Center to alter their attitudes toward Korea. The money, detached from any outside pressures, could be a meaningful contribution to the furtherance of the Center's research, despite the dubious nature of its source.
The University must exercise extreme caution in this undertaking, and in all future dealings of this nature.
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